Pregnant women find yoga
August 6, 2002
By Jennifer Reeder
Special to the
women participate in a yoga class at the Wild Sage Yoga
Studio in the Smiley Building on July
Before Eileen Musicís prenatal yoga class,
several women in varying stages of pregnancy chat with one
another as a new student enters the room. She collects a yoga
mat, an Indian blanket and a foam block, settles onto the
floor as the others have, and asks the woman next to her,
"What am I in for?"
"Complete relaxation," the woman answers with
For five years, pregnant women in the Four
Corners area have been practicing yoga with Music, 59.
"The No. 1 benefit is learning how to relax,"
Music said. "Let the (birth) process take its course and get
yourself out of the way."
Music guides her students in breathing
techniques to relax their bodies and increase their oxygen
intake, and in modified yoga poses to relieve discomfort
associated with pregnancy, with particular emphasis on the
back. The babyís weight pulls the spine forward, causing
pregnant women to arch their backs, causing pain, Music
Between breathing exercises and guided
meditation the students practice a variety of yoga poses
altered to fit their needs. For example, they can lean on
chairs for support during traditional yoga poses like
"downward-facing dog," rather than extending to the floor.
leads a yoga class for pregnant women at the Wild Sage
Yoga Studio in the Smiley Building on July
Music shares knowledge gained during her own
three pregnancies and encourages class members to share
experiences and ideas. She fosters a supportive atmosphere by
asking students to introduce themselves at the start of each
class by giving their first name, medical practitioner and due
"They build up quite a friendship while
theyíre in there," Music said.
The camaraderie that develops in the classes
was a favorite aspect for former student Andrea Avantaggio.
Avantaggio, who owns Mariaís Bookstore, attended Musicís
prenatal yoga class during both of her pregnancies. She said
itís great to be with other pregnant women, "to laugh about
the things youíve been crying about all week."
"Itís a wonderful thing," Avantaggio
Another former student, Sarah Law, district
attorney for the 6th Judicial District, also enjoyed
discussing pregnancy issues in the hour-and-a-half classes.
She said Musicís "wealth of experience" helped her learn a lot
in preparation for her sonís birth. She said she especially
liked that Music reminded her students to share information
but also to listen to their bodies and remember "whatís right
for you is whatís right for you."
"It was a great experience," Law said. "Sheís
Music estimates that there are "probably over
300 moms and babies walking around town now" who have been in
her class Ė and she feels a bond with all of them.
"For me as a ĎGrandma,í I have tons of
grandchildren walking around. Itís fun!" Music said.
Music said she is fortunate to live in a
place with such a "supportive birth community" Ė including
Mercy Medical Center staff, Southwest Midwives, various
childbirthing classes and doulas.
"I really feel like Iím part of a team,"
Because Music likes to keep her classes small
by limiting them to 15 people, there is usually a waiting
list, she said. It also means her work is not as lucrative as
traditional yoga classes, which can accommodate up to 30
students. Not that sheís uptight about money: Students put $10
per class in an aluminum can that Music leaves on the floor,
trusting them to make their own change. She also works out
arrangements with women having financial difficulties.
Ultimately, the prenatal classes are Musicís
labor of love.
"Itís a passion of mine and I love doing it,"
Music said. "All the women are really special."
For more information, call Wild Sage Yoga